Hun Many, the youngest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen and an elected lawmaker in Kampong Speu province, has defended his party against allegations of nepotism, corruption and election irregularities in a foreign TV interview.
In a wide-ranging Channel News Asia interview that aired on Friday, Many, 32, the youngest member of the National Assembly, painted himself as part of a new generation of Cambodian People’s Party leaders coming through the ranks.
Throughout the interview, Many emphasised that he wished to prove himself as an able politician that could get things done, though he struggled to outline specific policy areas where he had goals.
He also countered charges of nepotism by saying that political positions needed to be looked at not as a “status” but as a “responsibility we need to bear and we need to fulfil”.
“It’s not my father who wants me to be a National Assembly member and then [I] get the position,” he said.
But Many did suggest he would take inspiration from his father in political life.
“I am a politician in the making I have to admit it. But I think the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in that regard, I want to specify [and] clarify, not because of how people judge my father as a strongman, but the foundation that working with him as his personal secretary, as his son, and [his] judgment that I have seen.”
The lawmaker also said he was “not yet” thinking about whether he wanted to be prime minister.
On the idea that his father was grooming him for a top position in politics, he demurred, saying the public would judge him on merit.
“A father always [wishes] well for the children but again, after that, it is no longer about his decision.”
Many also said that corruption should not be described as “rampant” – to which the interviewer retorted that Transparency International would disagree with him.
“I’m saying, yes, there [is] corruption but not at the level where this country is still not attractive for investment,” Many said.